People race for all kinds of reasons and ones that bubble to the surface are: to compete, to be fit, to challenge themselves, to honor loved ones and to support good causes. Chestertown is a small college town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and it is home to many amazing places, companies, people…and one very special camp. I was introduced to Dragonfly Heart Camp in 2010 by colleagues and fellow triathletes and its mission statement is one that you can’t help but be drawn to and feel compelled to support. I had the opportunity to race in the 2010 sprint triathlon that benefits the camp and this year I raced in the Camp’s 5k fundraiser. Thanks to a series of fortuitous events I have found myself on the race committee for the 2011 event in which I will also compete. What is Dragonfly Heart Camp? And why should you race it?
Dragonfly Heart Camp
To quote directly from the DHC mission statement: “Dragonfly Heart Camp is a very special summer camp for children who have received a heart and/or lung transplant, or are diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. It is the first camp in the country that is specifically designed to accommodate children with these complex cardio-pulmonary conditions.”
The camp was founded by Rhonda Cataldo after one of her daughters, Sarah, received a heart transplant at age eight. Rhonda’s family lives in Chestertown where I work and are the type of people you instantly love and want to help. And when you see the video that tells the story of DHC, the desire to help extends to wanting to make a difference in the lives of children who might not otherwise have the chance to experience being a kid.
Things that ‘normal’ children, and adults, can so easily take for granted–swimming, biking, running, canoeing, walking in the woods, playing games–are often outside the realm of the possible for children who live with severe cardiac conditions. But thanks to an incredible set of volunteers including specialized physicians, and thanks to those who participate in the camp’s fundraising efforts, these children have their dreams come true, for free. It costs $1500 to send one child to camp and every little bit helps. Ever grateful to have my health and fitness, getting involved to help promote one of the camp’s biggest fundraising events seemed the least I could do to help children simply experience childhood.
DHC Sprint Triathlon: October 16, 2011
This year’s sprint triathlon was rescheduled from July 3 to October 16. It will fall on a Sunday, at the end of the Chestertown Wildlife Festival. Chestertown is a great destination town and fall brings perfect temperatures and perfect scenery for a sprint triathlon. The owns is on the water, has lots of great restaurants, is family, and dog, friendly and is an easy 1-2 hour drive from places like Annapolis, Wilmington and Philadelphia. The goal is to draw 200 athletes to participate in the event which is open to individuals as well as relay teams. This sprint triathlon is flat and fast and comes at an ideal time during the season for newbie triathletes ready to test their training as well as for veteran triathletes who need tune-up events before their big race.
The swim is .5 miles and is an in-water start in the Chester River which is a protected waterway off the Chesapeake. Volunteers assist with hopping in the water off a dock and also help swimmers out of the water at a bulkhead at the end of the swim. The transition area is spacious in the Wilmer Park grass area. The bike is a flat 17 miles out and back on Quaker Neck Road which runs along the Chester River and then along eastern shore farmland. Back in the transition area, the 3.1 mile run is an out and back loop along John Hanson Road with the slightest hill right in the middle.
The Dragonfly Heart Camp Sprint Triathlon is a relaxed and fun event. More importantly, it is an event whose proceeds allow children normally tied to medicines, respirators and extremely protected environments to experience the joys and adventures of summer camp.
We hope to see you there!
October 16, 2011
8:00 a.m. start
.5 mile swim, 17 mile bike, 3.1 mile run